About the Global Detention Project:
Aims, Origins, Staff




The Global Detention Project (GDP) is a nonprofit research centre based in Geneva, Switzerland, that investigates the use of immigration-related detention as a response to global migration. Its objectives are:


To provide policy-makers, civil society actors, and human rights institutions with a source of accurate information and analysis about detention and other immigration control regimes, with a particular focus on the impact these policies have on the health, human rights, and well being of undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.

To develop and maintain a measurable and regularly updated database on national detention regimes that can be used to assess the evolution of detention practices, provide an evidentiary base for advocating reforms, and serve as a framework for comparative analysis.

To improve accountability and transparency in the treatment of detainees.

To encourage scholarship in this aspect of the immigration phenomenon.




The idea of the Global Detention Project was initially developed in 2005 as a result of research undertaken by students at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. The original intent was to create a tool for improving transparency of detention regimes by systematically documenting where and in what conditions migrants and asylum seekers are detained.


In 2006, the GDP received a start-up grant from the Geneva International Academic Network (RUIG-GIAN) to collaborate with the Graduate Institute's Political Science Department on completing a comprehensive assessment of the international scope of migrant detention practices. Since then, the GDP has received financial support from a host of other philanthropic organizations, including Loterie Romande, the Oak Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Zennström Philanthropies, and the Swiss Network for International Studies.


During 2009-2014, the GDP was housed at the Graduate Institute's Programme for the Study of Global Migration (now the Global Migration Centre). During this period, the project grew from a small academic research project into an important source of information and analysis on detention regimes across the globe.


In May 2014, the GDP was launched as an independent nonprofit research centre. 



Project Team



Michael Flynn: Executive Director

Mariette Grange: Senior Researcher

Izabella Majcher: Associate Researcher

Caroline Dalton: Intern

Killian Patrick Dorier: Intern



Executive Committee


Meghna Abraham (Amnesty International), President

George Kourous (UN Food and Agriculture Organization), Vice President

Yves Klein (Monfrini Crettol & Partners), Secretary

Pierre Simon (Processus Immobilier), Treasurer

Roberta Cecchetti (Save the Children)

Seta Hadeshian (Middle Eastern Council of Churches)

Severine Jacomy Vite (UNICEF)

Luke McCallin (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

Fernand Melgar (Filmmaker/Climage.ch)

Alejandro Nadal (El Colegio de México)

Robert Norris (Federation of American Scientists)

Michaela Told (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)  



Academic Advisory Council


Mary Bosworth (Oxford University)

François Crépeau (McGill University)

Jeff Crisp (Refugees International)

Niels Frenzen (University of Southern California)

Elspeth Guild (Radboud University)

Jussi Hanhimäki (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)

Donald Kerwin (Center for Migration Studies)

Daniel Wilsher (City University London)



Former interns, researchers, and consultants: Bassiar Ali, Cecilia Cannon, Theo Coonen, Jaqueline Douniama, Christina Fialho, Claudie Fioroni, Parastou Hassouri, Anette Havardsen Skaar, Aiko Holvikivi, Cari Jeffries, Kelsey Jost-Creegan, Adrian Klocke, Yuki Kobayashi, Alexandra Lamb, Christa Lopez, Jana Löw, Ben Lumsdaine, Alexander MacKinnon, Sahiba Maqbool, Karen Marín Hernández, Luke McCallin, Sam Moog, Alix Nasri, Navitri Putri Guillaume, Ioana Raluca Balas, Isabel Ricupero, Jonathan Ruta, Marizen Santos, Noah Schwartz, Giulia Soldan, Yvette Stephens, and Hui Wang.